A REFRESHED, collaborative strategy to tackle rough sleepers and homelessness within the Royal Borough has been approved.

On June 25, councillors approved to update the council’s homelessness and rough sleeping strategy – which was adopted in November 2018 and will last until 2023 – to work with agencies to support and prevent those who are or may become homeless with early help.

During lockdown, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead engaged with its key stakeholders via focus groups to analyse and consider the latest data, consider changes to national guidance, and implement best practise.

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Working with partners such as Thames Valley Police and Windsor Homeless Project, the strategy will work collaboratively on five key priorities:

  • Reducing the numbers of people becoming homeless.
  • Reducing the numbers of households in temporary accommodation and improving the quality of that accommodation.
  • Supporting people into good quality, affordable and sustainable accommodation options.
  • Reducing rough sleeping and supporting those who find themselves on the street.
  • Improving the customer service provided to people approaching housing services.

The refreshed action plan was developed through a desktop review of homelessness statistics, trends and issues, considering national and local policies, and a survey was conducted with people in the system on what can be improved on.

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Councillor Ross McWilliams (Conservative: Cox Green), cabinet member for housing, communications, and youth engagement, said: “There has been a huge change in our approach to provide housing support. The service has seen massive improvements and we now have strong foundations upon which to build an ambitious, innovative, and industry-leading service that puts residents at the heart of what we do.

“Crucially, the refreshed strategy will enable us to embed our new approach and ensure a permanent cultural shift in our approach; monitor success with data gathering and data publishing; and go even further in working with partners to ensure holistic support continues.”

The action plan will be refreshed and updated with new actions each year until 2023.